Preventing Hearing Loss

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hearing loss

It Is Important To Understand How You Hear Different Sounds

When sound waves enter the ear, they cause your eardrum and the bones inside your ear to vibrate. Small, fragile hair in your inner ear turns the vibrations into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. Your brain then interprets the signals as sounds and we start hearing. 

Hearing is a combination of several interactions in the ear that convert sound waves into signals which brain can interpret.

Measuring Sound

We measure sound levels in decibels (dB) and are generally considered loud when they are over 80dB. The loudness of the sound impacts your hearing along with the duration of exposure to it. 

Even brief exposure to very loud sounds, such as a concert, can cause temporary hearing loss. Long-term, repeated exposure to loud sounds can damage the hair in your inner ear leading to permanent hearing loss.

As sounds get louder, the time of exposure to them drops significantly. For example, you may be able to hear city traffic (80dB) for up to 5 hours 30 minutes a day without trouble. But you should only be exposed to a motorcycle (90dB) for no more than 30 minutes a day. 

Understanding Hearing Loss

Hearing loss occurs for a variety of reasons and you may hear better in one ear than the other. Changes to your ears as you age, long-term exposure to loud sounds, or illness can all affect your hearing. 

Aging is one of the primary causes of hearing loss. Generally, you can hear more when you are younger and less as you get older. A quarter of people over 50 and half of people over 80 experience hearing loss. This typically occurs as your ear changes over time and is most often due to the loss of the hair cells in the inner ear that sense sound. Hearing loss can also be genetic or even caused by certain diseases such as ‘Meningitis’, ‘Mumps’ and ‘Chicken Pox’.

Hearing loss from loud sounds such as a concert tends to be temporary but can become permanent with repeated exposure. Damage is more likely if your ears do not have time to recover afterward. In loud environments, it is a good idea to protect your ears with earplugs or noise-reducing headphones. If you have an apple watch, it can detect loud sounds and alert you when they reach harmful levels. 

People also hear sounds in different ways. Some are better at hearing low-frequency sounds, such as rolling thunder or a tuba. Others hear better at high-frequency sounds, such as a bird chirping or a whistle. A quiet sound that can be heard perfectly by one person might only be heard when it’s loud by another person. 

Signs Of Hearing Loss

A few indications that you may have some level of Hearing Loss include:

1. When you meet someone, it’s hard to hear their name.

2. At the cinema, it’s hard to hear the dialogue or other sounds.

3. Others think the TV or Radio is loud when it sounds fine to you.

4. In loud places, like a busy restaurant, you miss part of the conversation.

5. You hear ringing in your ears

Prevention Is Better than Cure

Some precautions that you should take to prevent Hearing Loss are:

  1. Stay away from sources of loud noise.
  2. when using headphones or earphones keep levels of music low. Listening to loud music through headphones is extremely damaging.
  3. At events like weddings, nightclubs, public meetings, etc stay away from the source of loud sounds.
  4. At work either switch to quieter equipment or use protective devices such as earplugs or earmuffs.
  5. Get your hearing tested regularly if your are constantly exposed to loud sounds.

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